NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Creative Imagination and Dream Work for Writers

In my prior blog post, I wrote a post entitled, "Working with Dreams to Develop Your Creative Imagination" (

Creative Imagination, Dream Incubation, and Dream Work to Overcome Creative Blocks:
In this blog post, I will focus on how creative imagination and dream work can be a source of inspiration for writers. As I've mentioned before, among the clients that I work with in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC, I work with writers, actors, musicians, composers, and other people who are in the creative arts.

Creative Imagination and Dream Work For Writers

In any creative endeavor, it's not unusual to develop a creative block that gets in the way of doing the work. Dream incubation and the subsequent dream work that is possible from incubated dreams is often very helpful for writers who are experiencing creative blocks or at an impasse in their work.

For instance, if a writer is struggling with a particular character or a scene in a story, he or she can incubate a dream to overcome this impasse. As I mentioned in prior blog posts, to incubate a dream, you can either give yourself a suggestion before going to sleep that you want to have a dream to overcome this impasse or you can work with a psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist who is trained in Embodied Imagination dream work (developed by Robert Bosnak) to help you.

When we do Embodied Imagination dream work for incubated dreams, we not only have access to our own experiences in the dream, we also have access to the experiences of the other characters in the dream.

As I've mentioned before, in Embodied Imagination dream work, we start with our own experiences, but we don't stop there. We also access the experiences of the other characters in the dream. Now, I realize that this might sound odd, but one of the basic concepts of Embodied Imagination is that we make no assumptions about where the dream is coming from or who the other characters are in the dream.

Rather than assuming that the characters are a part of ourselves, as we might in Gestalt or other types of psychotherapy, we make no assumptions. We allow the other characters to have their own "lives" in the dream. This frees us up to experience these characters from their own perspectives. Needless to say, I'm not referring to the type of hallucinations that people with schizophrenia or some other delusional or psychotic disorder might have. All I'm saying is that, for the purpose of doing the dream work, we suspend disbelief in the service of doing the creative dream work and using our imagination. For a fuller explanation of this phenomenon, I recommend that you read Robert Bosnak's book, Embodiment.

So, for example, a writer might incubate a dream about a particular character that he or she is not satisfied with in the story. The dreams that are the result of this incubation would include valuable information about the character, sometimes coming from the character's own mouth.

When we're dreaming, generally, we're in a more relaxed state than in our regular waking experience. This allows us to have access to a deeper sense of our imagination than when we're awake. In these dreams, characters and scenes "come alive" in ways that they often don't in our usual waking consciousness. And it takes no extra time since we would spend the same amount of time sleeping whether we incubated dreams or not.

I also find that, like with most things, maintaining a sense of humor helps with the creative process.

About Me
I am a licensed psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist. I am also a hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing therapist, and an EMDR therapist.

I work with individuals and couples, and my office is convenient located in Manhattan.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.